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18 April 2024

Jordan's Prince Ali stuns Chung in Fifa vote

By Reuters

Prince Ali bin Al Hussein of Jordan was voted on to Fifa's Executive Committee after scoring a stunning victory over the long-serving incumbent Chung Mong-joon of South Korea at the Asian Football Confederation Congress on Thursday.

Ali, 35, the son of Jordan's late King Hussein and Queen Alia, will become the youngest member of the ExCo after beating Chung, who has sat on the board since 1994, by 25 votes to 20 in a fight for Asia's vice-presidential seat on the committee.

Prince Ali, who has been head of the Jordanian FA since he was 25, becomes the third member of the Jordanian Royal family to occupy a seat on a major sporting governing body.

His elder brother Prince Faisal and sister Princess Haya bint Al Hussein, wife of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, are both members of the International Olympic Committee.

The result strengthens Fifa president Sepp Blatter's grip on his position as he privately supported the prince against Chung, one of his perennial critics. Blatter is standing for re-election for a fourth term as Fifa president later this year.

In a separate vote between four candidates for two of Asia's other seats on the committee, Worawi Makudi of Thailand retained his seat and Vernon Manilal Fernando of Sri Lanka was voted on to the Fifa executive to replace Junji Ogura of Japan who was retiring.

Makudi polled 24 votes, Fernando 23. Kozho Tashima of Japan and Zhang Jilong of China were the unsuccessful candidates.

Earlier Mohamed Bin Hammam of Qatar was re-elected as president of the AFC by acclamation of the Congress.

The 61-year-old Qatari, whose country will host the World Cup finals in 2022, was the only candidate for the position he has held for the last eight years.

Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al Sabah, the head of the Kuwait Football Federation and the Olympic Council of Asia, voted for Prince Ali and told reporters afterwards: "This is a huge step for Fifa and points the way forward.

"I can announce that the 25 people who voted for Prince Ali today will voted for President Blatter at the FIFA Congress because President Blatter deserves to continue as Fifa president."

Chung, 59, looked hugely confident in the lobby of the Sheraton Hotel in the Qatari capital before the vote greeting supporters and posing for photographs, and delivered a confident address to delegates before they cast their ballot in a transparent box.

But he looked stunned afterwards and left the Congress Hall without speaking, as Ali's supporters screamed in delight at his victory.